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Acceptance into the elective is by application only.

All applications must be submitted through the Visiting Student Learning Opportunities™ (VSLO®) 

Fourth-year medical students may choose to spend a four-week elective in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine. A specific academic interest, such as cytology or laboratory hematology, may be accommodated, if the student indicates this in advance. Alternatively, if the student has the appropriate background and interest, depending on availability of faculty, a student may spend the whole month in a sub-specialty area. The student on rotation in our department will be integrated into the daily services provided by the department. Medical students will be expected to report to the designated section and faculty member every day.

Anatomic pathology
The board-certified pathologists of the Geisinger Medical Labs Anatomic Pathology (AP) Group provide diagnostic workup, prognostic information, pathogenetic insight and therapeutic direction for the best possible patient care. A group of pathologists covers each pathologic sub-specialty: breast pathology, cytopathology/fine needle aspiration biopsy, dermatopathology, gastrointestinal pathology, genitourinary pathology, head and neck (ENT) pathology, hematopathology, liver pathology, neuropathology, renal pathology, soft tissue and bone pathology, thoracic pathology and thyroid pathology. This sub-specialization allows for greater depth of experience, enhanced quality of care and improved patient safety. The department is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and cutting edge technology.

Clinical pathology
The clinical laboratory provides services that include hematopathology and coagulation consultations, providing diagnostic expertise as well as ongoing disease management support. The laboratories include blood bank services, immunology, hematology, microbiology, clinical chemistry, toxicology, therapeutic drug monitoring and molecular diagnostic tests. The clinical labs are directed by professional staff including four physicians and three PhD doctoral scientists.

Students will spend time in anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine. They will be able to see what happens to a specimen from the time the ordering physician submits it for analysis until the results are obtained and interpreted. They will understand what goes into ensuring proper submission of specimens as well as their processing, testing and reporting and the impact of the report on the patient and subsequent treatment.

The goal is to ensure that the medical student is well-informed of the functioning of a pathology lab, the measures laboratories take to maintain a high standard of performance so that, when the student is a physician, he or she orders appropriate laboratory testing and has a definite plan to react when the result is received, whether the latter be negative, positive or ambiguous. Above all, this elective rotation should leave the student with a deeper understanding of disease.

Specific educational goals will include:

  • Surgical pathology
  • Histology
  • Accreditation of the lab by state, federal and other bodies
  • Concept of ‘lean thinking.’
  • Microscopy
  • Cytology
  • Pathology reports
  • Quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement
  • General clinical pathology
  • Coagulation
  • Microbiology
  • Transfusion service (blood bank)

Contact us

Megan Longenberger, BS
Medical Education Coordinator